Public Authorities and the Ambiguities of the Lunatic at Home

Akihito Suzuki

in Madness at Home

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245808
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932210 | DOI:
Public Authorities and the Ambiguities of the Lunatic at Home

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter widens the scope of inquiry, and examines the ambiguous relationships between the family and public authorities of various sorts over the question of managing lunatics within the household. First, it looks at the changing relationships between the state and the family in terms of commissions of lunacy, and discusses the background and the impact of some legal changes during the period under consideration. The chapter then shows that there existed deep ambiguities about the extent of the power of public authorities, using the case of George Smith as an example. It concludes by examining the conflicting approaches within the central government to the question of lunacy and privacy.

Keywords: family; public authorities; lunatics; George Smith; privacy

Chapter.  12180 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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